Project Simplify: Kitchen & Pantry

project simplify

All month, I’m participating in Project Simplify over at Simple Mom. Each week for five weeks, Tsh is sharing a new hot spot and inviting readers to join her in decluttering & simplifying that space. I’m excited to be participating and decided that I’d give you a peek inside our home with vlogs instead of just telling you what we do!

This week’s hot spot is to declutter and clean your kitchen and pantry. We don’t have a huge pantry, but since I’ve been decreasing the amount of gadgets and tools that we have (a big step for a recovering Pampered Chef addict), I have two extra drawers that I’ve designated as the “baking drawer” and “snack drawer”. See a full tour of our kitchen here.

I fully intended to share a vlog this week, but as my girls came down with a stomach bug one-by-one, I realized that that just wasn’t going to be realistic. Instead, I worked on the kitchen in bursts, taking pictures as I went.

Here’s a peek at the before and afters:

We use zones throughout our kitchen to keep similar items together. This is our baking drawer, which contains all of the ingredients we need for baking, except the spices. I’d really love to have some nice big containers for flour, sugar, etc., but for now repurposed spaghetti sauce jars will do!

We’ve been slowly switching from plastic to glass or stainless steel, and the kids drawer is the place where this is most obvious. As soon as we find our extra small plates from our dish set (somewhere in the basement!), we plan to add those to this drawer. I also have some custard dishes and ramekins that we have been using in place of the plastic bowls, but I need to get some more before we toss those altogether.

I also want to give a shout out to Old Navy on those stainless steel bottles. I’ve never seen them priced at $5 each anywhere else (sometimes you’ll find less expensive bottles, but they’re actually aluminum), and they have so many fun designs and colors. We really love them!

To be honest, this drawer drives me nuts. We really need to get drawer dividers like the ones in our silverware drawer, which I’ll show you in a minute, but in the meantime, this drawer is almost always a mess. A lot of these tools actually belong in a lazy susan type organizer that I have in another cabinet, but we end up tossing them in this drawer instead. I think it could easily hold all of them with some dividers to keep them neat and organized.

That drawer isn’t dirty, just for the record — I had just finished wiping it with a damp rag and wasn’t patient enough to wait for it to dry!

I love Pampered Chef — especially their stoneware — and at one point I had too many stones to count. I’ve really scaled back over the past three years, and I can say confidently that I use each of these pieces regularly now! That said, my husband and I have different philosophies about how they should be put away, so the drawer often gets messy and chaotic. It’s not worth reorganizing on a regular basis, but I sure do like the way it looks when I do!

Our pantry is a little bit different, in that it’s actually a pull-out unit with drawers next to our refrigerator. I made a few changes in here, most notably moving the bread down to the second shelf and putting extra bulk items in the top shelf (which is hard to get to) instead. I also moved the vitamins and supplements to the spice cabinet and grouped the foods differently. Now, all of the canned goods, rice, pasta, ect. are together, the breakfast foods and drinks are on the fourth shelf and extra condiments, vinegar, etc. are in the bottom drawer.

One of my favorite features in our kitchen are these cabinet units, which actually have rolling doors (hence why they’re called “the garages”). The one on the right holds small appliances, and the one on the left holds miscellaneous office supplies, crafts, notepads, etc. The left garage had really become a junk drawer over time, and it felt really good to clean that out and get it looking tidy again. The appliances garage wasn’t too bad, but I moved a few things around just to make them more convenient to get to.

My philosophy on small appliances is fairly simple. One, I need to be able to get to any small appliances I own, or else I won’t use them. Two, if I don’t use it — even if I think one day I might — I get rid of it. Three, if I don’t have a space already picked out for a new small appliance, I don’t buy it.

The rest of our drawers and cabinets were in pretty good shape and didn’t need too much work, but I thought you might still like to see how we organize things:

Looking for more about organizing your kitchen and pantry? Read through these older posts for a more in-depth look at both:

Are you participating in Project Simplify? How do you organize your kitchen and pantry?